What Is Geo-Location and Why You Should Use It

By Nicole Fletcher

If you’re have yet to jump on the ge0-location social media band wagon, here are ONLY reasons, that I can think of, why:
1. You don’t understand
2. You are too cool and don’t want to conform to the latest trend (…hipster)
3. You are a frightfully private person and lie when people ask you where you are
4. You do not like free things
5. You are worried both aliens and your arch nemeses will discover your whereabouts  and will subsequently stalk you, thereby making you existence a never ending nightmare

These are the only reasons I can come up with. Now I’ll tell you why you should jump on the aforementioned ‘bandwagon’.

Geo-location applications like Foursquare, Facebook places, SCVNGR and Gowalla to name a few, are all the rage and have been for a while now- but shocking to you check-in-a-holics: most people still have no idea what these things are. To avoid sending you newbies into gps-shock, we’ll just focus on the two big ones:  Foursquare and Facebook Places.

To start, when people talk about Geo-Location, they are referring to apps that have the ability to locate your location via your mobile device. That does NOT mean that because you have a smart phone and you download these apps that big brother automatically knows where you are. It doesn’t work like that. These apps are designed to inspire exploration, social interaction and brand loyalty, to name a few. The idea is to weave a gaming concept into your daily life, thereby encouraging you to try places you might not normally and, in exchange, you get silly things like badges and points. Brands jumped on this bandwagon fast though and NOW offer tangible incentives to get you through their doors. To demonstrate how this could potentially apply to YOUR life, here is a list of the free/sweet things I have received in the past week:

-Free tater tots with purchase of a beer  at a bar near my house (yes, I only went there for the tots)
-Free edamame at my new fav sushi joint
-Free meat board when I checked into a local wine bar for the 4th time
-10% off my bill at restaurant I never would have tried before
-A free mug at a coffee shop These however insignificant, are actually pretty significant.

I just stumbled upon these and had a blast in the process. The idea behind these apps pushes you out of your social rut and we all need that. Another aspect of its wonder is the social side. During my last trip to NYC, I checked in on Foursquare at the airport. Within minutes, I received texts from old friends, whom I never would have seen otherwise, wanting to meet up. Similarly, my roommate used Facebook Places in Las Vegas and ended up seeing  friends from college who were there that same weekend.

Finally, brand loyalty is huge in geo location apps. I, as a restaurant, would gladly give away free edamame if it meant getting people through my doors. Of course they’re going to purchase more than this comped side and therefore, I make a profit.  If you give me, as a consumer, free things, I WILL return. Loyalty is also increasingly popular with specials like: “On your fifth check in, receive a round of drinks on us- Thanks for your business!” This type of promo is low cost on the business end and high reward on the consumer end. The gaming component keeps customers coming back time and time again.

To read more about the INSANE growth of geo-location, specifically foursquare, check out The Important Things in Social Media, a previous blog post.

In sum we will revisit the first 5 reasons why you’re not partaking in geo-location wonder…but you will after this post.
1. You should understand now.
2. You’re not too cool for something that gives you free stuff. Come now.
3. I hope you’re working through your privacy issues.
4. NO ONE dislikes free things.
5. You should seek professional help….and then download foursquare.

After writing this I had an idea: for a future post, I’ll stand in one spot and visit every spot in my area with a special. Should provide for interesting research so look out for it!

In love, checkins and sweet specials.